About cycling in Mallorca
Mallorca's mild winters, the intense light and colour that pervades the spring, and the pleasant temperatures all year round make it ideal for active visitors.
About cycling in Mallorca & Spain
Majorca offers some of the most impressive, demanding and leisurely rides that makes the island a popular destination right through from amateur to professional cyclist. The rises and falls of the Tramuntana mountains make the perfect cycle playground for those wanting to test their strength against Majorca’s mountain range that stretches the whole west side of the island.
The cycling season begins in February and is busiest until May but most cycle shops are open until October. July and August are the hottest months on the island so not an ideal time for training. If you decide to come at this time then cycling at the crack of dawn not only ensures you have run of the road but keeps you cooler than you would be in the hot sun.
Thousands of cyclists arrive every year to travel Mallorca's highways and byways, enjoying the mild winters, sunny skies and the fabulous light & colours of autumn & spring. Throughout the winter, the best professional European teams come to Mallorca because they find it has the ideal conditions for training. The resort of Alcudia in the north of Mallorca is a favourite of Britain’s Team Sky during the winter as they take advantage of the climate and landscape as well as the dry, warm weather.
Where you base yourself will depend upon the type of cycling you wish to try. Alcudia is a great base for cyclists and is a hive of activity during the cycling season, with many cycle friendly hotels that offer bike maintenance, secure storage and regular organised rides. Although a great location, it does limit you somewhat if you want to explore some routes in the south.
Another popular area with a number of bike shops and cycle-friendly hotels in in the Playa de Palma, to the east of Palma and close to the airport. The routes down here are mainly flat with the odd hilly area (try around Randa) for something more challenging.
On the east coast, you could base yourself in the Cala Millor area, which has wonderful coastal routes as well as providing good access to the Llevent Natural Park which has plenty of challenging hills in beautiful protected surroundings.
As more and more cyclists come to Mallorca from countries across Europe, specifically the UK, Germany and Scandanavia, bike hire shops have been popping up all over the island offering a range of aluminium and carbon road frame bikes as well as hybrid and MBT bikes.
Bike shops and hotels will sometimes organise bike rides during the busy peak season. This includes performance bikewear company Rapha who have for the past few years had a pop-up shop at the Cappuccino bar in Puerto Pollenca.
We have compiled a list of some of the more popular cycling routes in Mallorca. We have concentrated on routes that are suitable for everyone, rather than hard core cyclists. As Mallorca has mountainous and flat terrain, you can choose your route to suit your purpose - we promise you that there is something for everyone!
If you're looking for harder professional circuits try these routes from Bikehead Mallorca.
How difficult is the cycling?
This tends to be dependent on ability and/or how hard you want to try up the climbs. If you are confidant of making the climbs quickly, which means you’ll be climbing for up to an hour, then you’ll need a 39x27 gear.Most fit club level riders able to comfortably cover 3-4 hours or more in the UK will get by on this gear without struggling too much. If you know you’ll take a little longer then your bike needs to be equipped with either a compact triple or double chain set. This will ensure you have low enough gears to ride comfortably at a pace that suits your level.
Remember the climbs may not be that steep but they are long and combined with the heat and altitude may present more of a challenge than you think. But don’t be put off, if you’re honest about your level and use the appropriate gears then it will be a tiring but pleasurable experience.
If you choose not to bring your bike with you on your Mallorcan holiday - and with airlines charging carriage these days for your bike & the possibility of loss or damage to your pride and joy during transit, there are good reasons to leave your bike at home.
If you do decide to take your own bike, make sure you’ve padded your bike bag to the max. Taking your own is tempting but it can be a heafty cost with budget airlines charging £50/€50 each way and can also be a risky choice if your bike gets damaged.
Not to panic though, if you are a keen cyclist, there are several top notch rental stores in Mallorca that will kit you out with the newest and best quality bikes for the duration of your holiday. Renting charges do vary from shop to shop, for bike frame and duration of hire so it’s best to check each site beforehand. Most shops charge extra for pedal hire but will happily fit your own for free.
Amateur visitors who want to enjoy the beauty of Mallorca can also rent bicycles and ride along the charming country roads - it's the best way to see the small villages of the interior, and explore Mallorca culture, typical Mallorcan cuisine and the peaceful way of life of the locals.
If you are a casual cyclist, then the local bike stores will also cater for you, with half day and full day rental options available. Helmets are not compulsory but are available to hire at all of the shops. Mallorca is laced with excellent cycle routes so you won't have to fight with too much traffic to enjoy the lovely surroundings - check out our cycle routes for inspiration. Or have a read of our experience when we hired bikes in Palma de Mallorca one day.
To avoid disappointment, it is definitely a good idea to book well in advanced as many shops start to take bookings early in the autumn for the next spring season. All bikes from cycle hire shops are well maintained and most shops will offer a recovery service should you have any problems while out on the road. Delivery of the bike to your apartment or hotel on arrival is also available with some shops.
There are bikes for rent in most of the holiday resorts around the coast of Mallorca. The most popular place in Majorca for cycling seems to be around Pollenca and Alcudia, and Alcudia has several bike rental shops where you can hire road, mountain, touring and childrens bikes. Many of these stores are also specialist bike shops so you can pick up accessories & clothing if required.
Equipment for cycling
- Water - One of the biggest problems in Mallorca is the heat. Fit two bottle cages to your bike and take 750ml bottles with electrolyte drinks.
- Sun Cream - Dry air and hot summer sun means you will burn quicker here than at home
- Windbreaker - Although it may be warm in the valley temperatures can drop rapidly as you climb, weather can change quickly and the fast descents can cool you down fast.
- Snacks - Energy Bars and gels are a very good idea if you are planning a day on the roads.
- Mobile Phone - Being able to contact someone to pick you up if your chain breaks is helpful.
- Money - You may need it in an emergency or just for a beer at the end of the day.
- Basic Repair Kit - You can't fix everything by the side of the road but not all breakdowns require the day to end.
Leading professional cyclists come to Majorca every February to compete in the Cycling Challenge Race, the first event of the year that counts towards the World Cup. This race has been going since 1992 but organisers only invited international teams in 1995 and is used to get many of the top racing teams prepared for the season, The Vuelta consists of five one day races in which cyclists and teams can choose to race each day, making the race different from cycle races such as the Tour de France and the Giro Italia.
The Duva International Two-Day Sportive is used by Spanish racers as an opportunity to socialise during the flats then disappear up the mountain during the tough climbs. Cyclists have the roads to themselves due to rolling road closures set by a pacing car at the beginning of the pelaton. There are two races, one of 140km and the other of 95km and entries are unlimited so everyone gets a ride. Note that this is not just a club run and riders should be prepared to ride at high teen’s average speeds during the controlled sections.
Alcudia and the surrounding Tramuntana mountains transforms into an international triathlon platform where in May each year the Ironman 70.3 is held. Competitors swim 1.9km in the Alcudia Bay, bike 90.1km through the Tramuntana mountains then finish off with a half-marathon through the town. The number of competitors means the main road in Alcudia is turned into a transition zone with high end road bikes lined up as far as the eye can see.
Cycling hotels & camps
Many of Mallorca's hotels welcome cyclists and will be able to offer storage rooms and bike racks - check before you book. For more specialist cycling hotels, try one of the following:
Palma: World VeloCamp is located only 5km from the airport in Palma de Mallorca and runs a training camp from February to March to help you get fit before the racing season starts. All cyclists are catered for at this hotel and there are secure bike rooms and mechanic services available.
Santa Maria: Reads Hotel is situated at the foot of the Tramuntana Mountains, between Palma and Inca in the small town of Santa Maria. This luxurious hotel has teamed up with Giant to offer their range of endurance road bikes to cyclists staying with them.
Puerto Pollenca: Club Pollentia is situated on the road between Puerto Pollenca and Alcudia, and is a popular destination for amateur triathlon and cycling clubs to stay for training camps. This hotel is ideal for an active holiday and has three pools, tennis courts, volleyball courts and watersports.
Playa de Muro: SunVelo cycling holidays and training camps are lead from the Viva Blue Hotel in Playa de Muro in the popular cycling base in North Majorca. This hotel offers organised cycle rides each day and helps individuals train for races and sportives.
Flying with your bike
A review of airlines terms and conditions in relation to sports equipment baggage indicates that it is highly likely that you will be subjected to a standard charge for taking your bike on board. Easyjet; bmibaby; Aer Lingus; and KLM indicated that there was an average additional charge of between £15 (€22.50) and £25 (€36) to take your bike, one-way.
However, make sure that the combined weight of your luggage does not exceed you allowance. Although you may have paid an excess for your bike its weight may be added to the weight of your hold luggage and there can be a penalty for any kg's over the allowance.
The more conventional airlines such as British Airways and its code share partner Swiss airlines permit free transport of bikes providing they fit within the free baggage allowance, and are packed in a hard shelled container.
Packing your bike for a flight
There are a few options available in transporting your bike. Hard bike boxes tend to cost in the region of £300 and like a hard case suitcase it will minimise the risk of damage occurring to the your bike but they are heavier. A soft bike bag is the cheaper option, costing around £100. Whilst this will provide your bike with a little more padded protection it is not as reliable as the hard box. On our recent trip from the UK to Geneva, we transported our bike in its original cardboard box, protected the key areas with bubble wrap and cardboard and it arrived safely and undamaged. Most airlines stipulate the following:
- Bikes should be contained within a protective box or appropriate bike bag;
- Only one bike should be carried per box/bag, and no other items (except protective padding) should be included within the box/bag;
- Handlebars and pedals must be fixed sideways against the frame or removed; and
- Tyres should be deflated slightly to reduce the risk of damage.
If you are transporting your bike, you should also check out your travel insurance arrangements. A lot of travel insurance companies will not cover your expensive mountain bike without an additional excess payment, and a lot of airlines will not be held responsible for any damage sustained whilst the bike is in their care. Check out your household insurance policy to see whether it can be covered as 'contents away from home'. There may be a slight surcharge for this option, but it's potentially better than having to fork out for a new bit of kit, or a brand new bike!!
In addition to bubble wrap, purchase some pipe lagging and zip ties from a DIY store to put around the frame of the bike for protection during transportation. In addition, if you don't have your original cardboard bike box, ask your local bike shop for one. If you have the choice always use the manufacturer’s box and your bike should arrive safe and whole. However, it is worth noting that the most frequently damaged part of a bike is the rear gear hanger. Remove the rear gear mechanism and tie wrap loosely to the frame to avoid this scenario. This applies almost equally to disc brake rotors if your bike sports them. Take them off, likewise pedals, its only a five minute job and will prevent you engaging in a fruitless search for an obscure part in resort.
Safety advice for cyclists
- Carrying ID in Majorca is mandatory, to avoid fines from the local police or Guardia Civil always carry some form of photographic identification on you
- Riding two abreast is legal in Majorca but keep as far to the right as possible. Ride in single file when there is poor visibility
- Keep to the hard shoulder of roads wherever possible. Don't make any risky manoeuvres and always comply with all traffic regulations
- Respect the natural surrounding because the ecological balance is very fragile. Do not leave litter behind and do not light fires in the woods
- Do not enter private property without the expressed permission of the owner
- In the summer, it is advisable not to cycle during hottest time of the day. Take water, sun-cream and a hat on excursions
- Before leaving, make sure your cycle is in good condition. If you are planning to go out at night or might be returning late, ensure that your bike is fitted with working lights
- Before setting off, make sure you let someone know where you will be going and when you think you are likely to be back
- Take care in the road tunnels in the Tramuntana mountains. In the area of Puig Major, the tunnels are not lit, so take lights if you are planning on using this route. There are also tunnels on the way to Lloret a Ruberts and the old road to Muro
- The road between s'Indioteria and Garrover (old road to Bunyola), the road to s'Esglaieta, the road from Bunyola to Orient, and the road from Pollenca to Campanet all need repaired